Given the strain the economy is under right now, Keynesian economic theory indicates that this is not the time for government to impose austerity measures. But unfortunately, the nature of government is that it never has the discipline to ever impose austerity measures. The best constraint on uncontrolled government spending is to force it to be paid for, as citizens will resist increased taxation. I favor getting the government's revenue and spending aligned, and believe that ultimately the best way to make this happen is to reduce government spending. The best way to reduce government spending is to require that government raise enough money to cover its spending. Only when taxpayers feel the pain of government's excess will they rally to demand smaller government. While a Simpson-Bowles solution is preferable as an initial step, if achieving a balanced budget requires the expiration of the Bush-era income tax cuts, then so be it.
// Is there any circumstance in which you would support extending a pay freeze on federal employees and/or requiring current federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans? Please explain. //
The relationship between government employee unions and politicians is fundamentally corrupt. The unions give money to politicians, and then sit across the negotiating table from these same politicians asking for more favorable wages, benefits, and work-rules. The benefits the unions have won have not been achieved through arms-length negotiations. Like any employer, the government should be seeking to achieve equal or greater productivity at a lower cost. Every dollar saved in labor expense is dollar that can be spent on much needed programs or returned to its rightful owner, the taxpayer.
// The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs? //
OK, so maybe "death panels" is an exaggeration, but ultimately the government must create a system to say "no" to some health care spending. Medicare should provide a safety net for seniors against catastrophic health crises. It should not be in the business of improving quality of life (think joint replacements), providing the most modern drugs and medical technology (unless they are also the most cost-effective), or prolonging life at any cost. It would be great if the people of America were willing to pay for this in the form of taxes. They are not.
// Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it? //
The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. The government should not be finding a way to "boost the construction industry" or the auto industry or the biotech industry. However, the federal government does have a role in maintaining and improving the nation's infrastructure. Ideally, this would be paid for by user-fees (gas tax, vehicle registration fees, airline ticket fees), but this is not always feasible.
// Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon? //
It would be wonderful if America could be the world's policeman. Unfortunately, this is not feasible both because of affordability (Americans are unwilling to see their taxes increased to pay for more foreign wars) and effectiveness (once America is viewed as the world's bully, it will lose its global influence). As part of a coalition of our allies, America should do its share to maintain a safe world. So if the UN, NATO, or some similar alliance should request our participation, the U.S. should be a good team player. The U.S. should not unilaterally impose its will on others.
// Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party. //
The Libertarian party is one that believes in small government. As a result, it is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. The Libertarian perspective on shrinking government to its core functions aligns well with Republicans' desire to shrink government and reduce taxes. The Libertarian perspective on personal freedom aligns with the Democrat's desire for marriage equality for homosexuals and easing if not eliminating the government's failed war on drugs. A Libertarian would have no problem finding support for any given legislative action from one of the two major parties.
[ 5th Congressional District ]
The Southern Maryland District has been a Democratic stronghold for years and did not change significantly in the redistricting. The incumbent is Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Mechanicsville Democrat and the House Minority Whip.
Bob S. Auerbach, Green
- City of residence: Greenbelt
- Occupation: Retired librarian
- Family: Two adult daughters, two grandchildren